Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~No Service…Sad Day~ December 8, 2013

4.1.1I normally do not post on the weekends, especially Sunday, but I am making an exception today.  Our church services have been cancelled due to inclement weather and I am sad.  Not only because I was already up and showered so now fully awake but because I truly believe the words of Hebrews 10, verses 24 & 25:

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

Obviously today it would have been hazardous for us to do so and the decision was made to close the building so meeting together isn’t an option.  Oftentimes though, individuals make the decision to skip out on this vital part of their Christian walk for reasons of their own.

There are four main components to our time together every Sunday that I feel validate the importance of doing so.  I realize that all of these things can be done outside of church or even alone.  But there is something special about coming to the Lord’s house every week that cannot be duplicated anywhere else.

1.  Fellowship:  Face to face interaction with other believers can work wonders for one’s soul.  You can see the compassion in someone’s eyes, feel the warmth from their embrace and find strength through their companionship.  You can’t experience these things during a phone call or email. So in a time where people find it easier to text, even while standing in the same room, this time together is irreplaceable.

2.  Worship:  My favorite.  There are no words for the closeness I feel to the Father when singing praises to his name.  As a member of our praise team, my heart wants to explode when I can look out on our congregation and see my brothers & sisters lifting their voices to God with joy and thanksgiving.  More than that, are the times when you see someone come in looking downcast, their faces hardened by the burdens they carry.  Then the Lord grips their hurts through the words of a song and you can see that barrier fall away as their countenance changes…beautiful.  So let us sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.

3.  Bible Study:  For our church, we are incredibly blessed with a pastor who takes the Word and teaches us how to live it out today.  He doesn’t simply rattle off verse after verse from the KJV of the Bible and say amen, he gives us examples of life application that are down to earth and relatable for all.  Teaching of the Scripture is a crucial part of service for we know that all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of Godmay be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

4.  Prayer:  While this can and should be done at other places and times, the Bible clearly states that where two or three gathered in the name of the Lord, He is there among them.  We have been given a gift in prayer, that we may submit our needs to God with the promise that he hears each and every one.  When gathered together in the altar, with hands laid on those seeking prayer, we are expressing love and solidarity to the one hurting the most.  And in doing so, fulfilling the law of Christ by bearing one another’s burdens.

These are the reasons why I am missing my church family today.  They strengthen me, encourage me and fill me heart with joy.  I consider myself truly blessed to be a part of a community that honors the Lord and offers a place of refuge for his people.

I pray that each one of you are blessed to have the same on this Lord’s day.  Don’t try to convince yourself that you don’t need to attend church…we are made to be together so that one man’s strength can complement another man’s weakness.  Take advantage of the community that God has designed for us while here on this earth.  You will be amazed at the benefits you will reap from a solid church family.

 

~Worship Monday~ July 1, 2013

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Mondays are tough.  How we start our Monday morning can set the tone for how the rest of our week goes.  I woke up in the middle of the night with a song in my head and when I got up this morning, it was still going strong.  The fact that this may not be your style of music is irrelevant, it’s not really mine either.  The message is what matters.  Take a listen and sing along…out loud.  Don’t just sing the words, sing them to the Lord.  Let’s see if that doesn’t get us a great start to our week.

Sometimes the best thing we can do is stop what we’re doing and worship.  Let’s put aside our petitions today and lift up our praises instead.  Nothing more from me today, time to show God some love.  Happy Monday.

 

~Concert Of Thanksgiving~ June 19, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:14 am
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psalm40My family and I love music so we have followed the show The Voice all 4 seasons.  Last night while watching the finale, I was drawn to the crowds.  While the performers where on stage giving it everything they had, the people in the audience were going bizerk.  They were screaming, singing, jumping up and down with their hands in the air and clapping wildly.  If one of the singers walked close enough to touch, the excitement would nearly overtake them as they stretched out their arms just for the chance to briefly connect hands.  I get it.  As I said, lover of music here, so I am certain the adrenaline was pumping in that room.

What I don’t get is how it is people can be so excited in a concert setting where the main focus is a mere mortal but show as much enthusiasm as a wet noodle during worship at church when it’s all about our magnificent Creator.  There is something seriously wrong with this picture.  If you go to a concert, nearly every person in the room is clapping or fist-pumping and singing along.  At church, some days you’d be pressed to see half the room with lifted hands.

I realize that some may feel a bit uncomfortable with raising their hands during worship but when those same people will act a fool at a Springsteen concert, I have to wonder what’s up.  It got me thinking, maybe they don’t know what the Bible says about worship.  So I did a little digging to explain why I worship the way I do.

Singing:  “Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth!  Sing about the glory of His name!  Tell the world how glorious He is.  Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!”  (Psalm 66:1-3 NLT)

Clapping:  “Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples!  Shout to God with the voice of triumph!”  (Psalm 47:1 NKJV)

Raising of hands:  “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.”  (Psalm 134:2 NIV)

God has given us every reason to praise Him simply by granting us salvation.  But just in case you need one more reason to show up ready to worship this Sunday, try Psalm 30 out:

“You did it: You changed wild lament into whirling dance;

You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers.

I’m about to burst into song; I can’t keep quiet about You.

God, my God, I can’t thank you enough.”

(vs. 11-12 The Message)

 

~Freedom in Worship~ April 29, 2013

worship“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.”

(Hebrews 13:15 NIV)

Yesterday was a life-changing day for our church.  I struggle to even put into words how God moved among His people.  I will attempt to tell it as a story from my point of view, only to give you a visual of just how powerful and awesome our God is.

As part of the worship team, we began with prayer just before the start of service.  Our leader prayed that God, not us, would lead the service.  That it would be His will that was done to achieve what He desired.  As soon as we sang the first note, I knew this was not going to be an ordinary service.  We don’t live by feelings, but I’m telling you, you could feel the presence of God in that place.  Hands began to go up throughout the room.  As we moved through the set, more and more people began to worship.  And I mean really worship.  No one seemed to care who was around them, who was watching or what they might think.  The Lord was breaking down some barriers for our church.  Song three, “Forever Reign,” and I was lost in my own worship to God.  We moved right into our last song before the message, “You Are Holy,” and the worship being lifted to God was without question, the most beautiful sound I have ever heard.  I was weeping, as were others in the congregation, some had come to the altar while others dropped to their knees with their faces to the ground in the presence of the Lord.

Our Pastor came up and said he felt we needed to remain in an attitude of worship and prayer for the remainder of our time together.  He chose to put aside the message he had prepared in order to allow God to have His way.  He gave an exhortation to the church to get rid of anything that was separating them from God, to dedicate their all to Him.  People began to flood the altar for prayer as the worship team continued to play and the elders and their wives moved throughout the crowd to pray in agreement with those who had came forward.

There truly are no words to describe what God did in those altars yesterday.  It was freeing, humbling and awe-inspiring all at once.  Lives were forever changed in an instant.  Walls that had taken years to build came crumbling down before the Lord.  Hearts that had become closed because of past hurts and heartaches were opened to the love of God.  Souls that had gone astray found their way back onto the path that leads to victory.

It was a glorious day that I feel privileged to have been a part of.  It’s moments like that when you know that the God you serve is real, that He loves you with an everlasting love and that He is near to those who call on Him.

I have attached the song that we sang as performed by CFNI. I pray that you would listen to the words, realize that God can cleanse you of whatever it is that keeps you from fully surrendering to Him, and that your life would be forever changed by the power of His Spirit at work in you.

“And so, dear brothers and sisters,I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.”

(Romans 12:1 NLT)